Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Virginia Bluebells in the Woodland Garden

Deep in the woodland garden the Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are blooming. I look forward to these spring ephemerals that bring color to the carpet of leaf litter that blankets our woods.

©Southern Meadows

Two years ago, I planted a few of these and am looking forward to the time when we have large swaths of these beauties throughout our woods. They should thrive in the rich soil provided by decaying leaf matter and slightly moist conditions offered by the drainage of the terrain in this part of the woods. Growing here are groves of elderberry, devil's walking stick and spicebush that like similar conditions.

©Southern Meadows

©Southern Meadows

The nodding clusters begin pink and transition to their celebrated light blue blooms. My favorite is when the pink, purple and blue colors appear together in their various stages of transformation.

©Southern Meadows

©Southern Meadows

The flowers stick around through April, where they benefit from the spring sunshine before the large trees leaf out and provide shadier conditions. 

©Southern Meadows

Spring ephemerals have a short period of time to grow-flower-get pollinated-produce seeds before they disappear in the heat of the summer yet they are critical for early emerging pollinators. Female bumblebees are often found visiting the tubular blooms of Virginia bluebells but butterflies and moths are the key pollinators of these flowers. 

©Southern Meadows

11 comments:

  1. Gorgeous pinky/blues! I need to try them again.

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    1. I've tried them a few times over the years and this time they like the spot. Hopefully they will begin to spread. Definitely try again Gail. They're worth the persistence.

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  2. All of the different colours on the one plant are truly beautiful - like a painting!

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  3. I absolutely love Virginia Bluebells, and especially the way they pop up all around our back garden. Great pics!

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    1. How wonderful that they spread for you. I bet it's gorgeous.

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  4. Virginia bluebells are beautiful! I have never grown them; for some reason I thought I was too far south. But you are not much farther north than me, so maybe I will try them in my woodland garden. I love the photo showing the color variations on a single plant.

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    1. I think they would grow well in your woodland area. Definitely give them a try.

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  5. I so wish I could grow them here. Too dry. But, your post makes me want to try again. ~~Dee

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  6. I love Virginia Bluebells, too. They seemed to follow the sleep, creep, leap pattern for me--although I planted mine from seed so it took a few years. They looked really beautiful and were thriving last year, and then the rabbits ate the blooms off. I guess I'll sprinkle some deterrent around them this year. Native animals eat native plants, of course, but the VA Bluebells were listed as "plants seldom damaged by rabbits" on several lists I checked. Every year and every setting is different, I guess. Your photos are lovely! Looking forward to seeing you in Denver. :)

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One of my favorite things about blogging is the conversation with readers. Leave a comment and let's get talking. ~Karin